September 30, 2014

Rituals for Navratri: Destroy, Sustain, Create. ~ Meghan Neeley

Natesh Ramasamy/Flickr

We are in the midst of Navratri, a potent sadhana celebrating the transformative energy of the Divine Ma Shakti.

Navratri occurs twice a year—once near the fall equinox and once near the spring equinox.

As the Earth shifts from one season to the next we are called upon to honor the moments of transition in our lives. We love putting our attention on creation—babies being born, weddings, the beginning of a new career, the start of a vacation or the awakening of a life dream.

The reality of destruction is often sidelined—death, the end of a relationship, the end of a job, the release of a dream. Acts of sustaining often get lumped in with the less glamorous thoughts of paying the bills, going to work or keeping a marriage on track.

What I treasure about this celebration is that it includes the whole wondrous spectrum of life and reminds us how each aspect is vital for our growth.

Some of the most amazing moments of manifestation have occurred for me during Navratri. Over the years I’ve found the perfect home to move into, fallen in love, received job opportunities that were perfectly aligned with my desires and let go of unhealthy patterns for good. I view these two points in the year as reset buttons. Time to pause and look at my life with a discerning eye, a loving heart and a mind open to possibilities not yet dreamed of.

If you want to begin a deeper exploration of the Goddess archetypes and how they influence your life, look at the three areas below and begin to inquire how you see each distinct energy at play in your relationships, your work, your food choices and the ways you’re choosing to spend your time.

I encourage you to comment below and share your discoveries!


The first three nights of Navratri honor the energy of Durga—the warrior aspect of the Divine Mother. She is fearless in her fight against evil and in each of her 10 arms she holds a weapon from one of the Gods to protect us from any challenge. She calls on us to surrender our actions to her so that we may be free from fear. At this time of year I find myself looking within to see the ways I am manifesting Durga in my life—lightning bolt fierceness, compassionate honesty and decisiveness. Om Dum Durgaye Namaha.

What is ready to be destroyed? What are we ready to let go of? When we get completely honest with ourselves, we already know the things and people we’re hanging on to that are no longer aligned with our deepest intentions. It can be painful to move on from our familiar discomfort, but this paves the way for spaciousness.


The next three nights honor the energy of Lakshmi—the Goddess of abundance. She is pictured with an open palm raining gold coins and floating elegantly on a lotus flower. She welcomes us into a world that is for us and promises an abundance of love, health and wealth. Some of the ways we manifest Lakshmi in our lives are: giving and receiving, adorning ourselves, learning to be comfortable in expanded states of consciousness and increased income. Om Sri Maha Lakshmi Namah.

Lakshmi isn’t about a constant search for more. Rather, she represents the aspect of ourselves that is willing to live in a state of ease. Sustaining our energy through nourishing foods, sustaining a creative project with our steady devotion, sustaining a marriage with our curious heart and sustaining our income with an appreciation for all that we already have are a few of the ways we take steps toward Lakshmi.


The final three nights honor the energy of Saraswati—the Goddess of knowledge and creativity. She is pictured playing a veena as she relaxes on a lotus among the purity of white swans floating on a lake. In her other hands she holds a book and a mala symbolizing the importance of knowledge balanced with mediation. She reminds us of the value inherent in creativity and taking time for self care. Om Aim Saraswati Namah.

What want’s to come through you? What do you most want to create? Now that the space has been created, from clearing away all that was extraneous, and you have cultivated sustained love, health and financial support there is plenty of room for your very own Manifestress to come forward.

All of these Goddess energies are available for us to tap into. Who are you being? How are you showing up in the world? Are you boldly stating your truth and clearing the way for what you most want? Are you gathering your energy towards sustaining and meeting your most fundamental needs? Or, are you expanding into the wild birthing of your dreams?

You may notice a particular cycle at play more predominantly in your life at one moment and then, like the winds of autumn, a shift can occur in the next.

Navratri is a powerful time of year and I feel the Universe nudging me and whispering in my ear “What do you really want? It’s all possible.”





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Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Natesh Ramasamy/Flickr

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Meghan Neeley